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11 July, 2018 00:00 00 AM
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Blame game over rice price hike

DEEPAK ACHARJEE
Blame game over rice price hike

Prices of rice, especially of coarse rice, have risen, while rice millers, importers and traders blame each other for the increase amidst growing dissatisfaction among consumers, especially the poor.  The rice millers, importers and traders are blaming each other for the rising rice prices, although the country has a good buffer stock of rice and adequate availably in the markets.

To bring prices down, the Directorate General of Food has started open market sale (OSM) in different places in metropolitan cities to support low-income groups.

Taiyob Ali, a retailer of Mymensing Rice Agency in Mirpur area informed that the prices of rice, especially coarse rice, have risen due to a shortage of supply.

“Currently, coarse rice like Guti Swarna and Irri are selling of Tk 42 to Tk 43 per kilogram (Kg) at the retailer level which sold earlier Tk 36 to Tk 37 per kg,” he said.

Taiyob Ali informed that the importers almost stopped importing Guti Swarna rice from India due to a rise in tariff, resulting in a shortage.

“As the Guti Swarna is not available in the market, the dealers raised the price of another variety of coarse rice, Irri,” he added.

Acting secretary of the food ministry told The Independent that the Finance Division and the commerce ministry had increased the tariff of imported rice to 28 per cent without consultation with the food ministry and the stakeholders.

“The authorities concerned should take immediate steps to stabilise the rice market,” he said.

He said they had huge quantities of rice in buffer stock to meet existing demands. As of now, there are a total of 10.59 lakh tonnes of rice in the godowns.

Md Shah Alam, a rice importer, told this correspondent that the commerce ministry imposed a 28 per cent tariff without consultation with the rice importers. As a result, huge quantities of rice were now awaiting release at different ports.

“The government should take steps to release the imported rice immediately to stabilise the rice market,” he said.

At the same time, importers blamed rice mill owners, saying they were hoarding rice to sell them at higher price. This pushed up prices by Tk 2 or Tk 3 per kg.

“The law enforcement agencies and the other monitoring bodies should take necessary steps in this regard,” he said.

Layek Ali, general secretary of Bangladesh Rice Mill Owners’ Association, told The Independent that they were not hoarding rice any rice.

“The retailers are playing tricks to earn money by selling rice at a high rate,” he said.

“Prices at the district level were stable, so why should they increase in the metropolitan cities especially in Dhaka?” he asked.

“We don’t understand why the prices have risen. There is enough supply of rice in the market against the demand,” he added.

When contacted, Director General of Directorate General of Food Md Arifur Rahman Apu told The Independent that they would continue OMS activities in the metropolitan cities to support the low-income people.

 Currently, there are a total of 10.59 lakh metric tonnes of rice in the government godowns. The demand of rice is about 2.90 crore tonnes annually.

 

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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